We congregated downstairs at Falco’s after our first night’s rest in Trastenfen. We decided some hired swords would be helpful for any return into the wild. Barick and I inquired to Falco, who arranged a meeting for that night with three local men, Izera, Tolmuk, and Odran. The men were Fishtowners, all part of the town’s standing militia. We arranged payment and I walked with each man to his home to make an initial payment. It was here that I saw the poverty of Fishtown firsthand. The men, women, and children living in that section barely had enough to eat, yet they all treated me as if I were kin. Each house I visited seemed warmer than the last. It was an experience I will not soon forget. I felt a slight pang of guilt as I handed their wives the agreed upon payment, knowing full well that I might be paying for their husband’s lives.
The morning of our first day back, I called upon Fliban. The mage greeted me as a friend, more so than on any other occasion. I had hoped to obtain some potions from him, but he had none. He did suggest we contact a woman in the town called Almax. Ashvact gathered the roots and leaves needed and to come back at night. Ashvact returned and Almax had brewed six potions. She gave them to him under the promise that she would one day collect a favor to us.
We set off the next morning for the temple, making our way once again to the Fourtop Hills. The night passed without incident and we reached High Glade forest the following afternoon. We camped at the edge of the forest that night. Ashvact was able to find the temple surprisingly easy after climbing to the tops of the trees. We were at the temple at midday. Below is a rough sketch of the temple as we found it that day.
I stood at the entrance to the temple with Tolmuk while the remainder of our party began our exploration. The entrance hall led to a large room that held an enormous statue of a human male with a bull’s head. Ashvact investigated and found the body of a man who appeared to have been killed by the axe the statue held in its hand. The blood appeared fresh.
Further exploration of the temple revealed rubble-filled rooms. We encountered giant centipedes and large red beetles. Our encounter with the beetles nearly ended the life of one of our hirelings, Odran. Barick, Ralpheo and the three hirelings stood fast in the face of the beetles, but Odran was felled. Ashvact and I climbed up a pile of rubble tried to think of a way of helping our comrades. It was then that I noticed a slight, unnerving movement in a ceiling corner near us. I studied the movements and realized the shadow was a giant spider sitting in his web. I quickly put the creature to sleep. Ashvact moved quickly, dispatching the creature and ending up half covered in the green slime of the spider. My comrades destroyed the beetles and I was able to revive Odran with a potion. Our continued search revealed a tome called The Physico, written in Cuneflir. The book documented the care of the sick, giving us a clue that the temple was once a place of healing.
The temple seemed to be crawling with life unseen, but we encountered few other creatures. Barick and Ralpheo came across a giant snake sunbathing, but it slithered away without incident. Barick found a silver comb while we explored. The dwarf became quite enamored with the trinket and spent some time combing out his beard. The comb was not the only thing we found, though. As we explored we found a number of pendants depicting a stone-faced man. Ralpheo, as he often does, led us unwittingly into quite a find. He fell through a pit trap in the temple’s pantry and found a chest. Ashvact picked the lock and found 600 gold pieces.
Our most notable find was a human being. He had been encased by the spider we had met previously. The man was alive, but very weak. We left the temple and made camp at the edge of the clearing. The man’s name was Joseph Bauer feom the village of Leskin. Joseph told us that the temple was once used by villages from all over. The village used the healing water from the fountain to purify their wells once per generation. The last group sent to retrieve water had disappeared. Joseph and the comrade he had travelled with had been attacked.
We encountered two giant robber flies the following day, killing both of them before finding ourselves in an ornately decorated passageway. In the hallway was the body of a dead woman and the skeleton of a man, both human.
Ashvact, Barick and I placed the pendants we had found around our necks and entered the room at the end of the passageway. The fountain was in the ground, with three steps down to the water. A statue on the fountain looked like the creature on the pendant, with large wings and claws. Wearing the pendants, though, the three of us were able to fill three small vials from what remained of the water in the fountain.
We returned Joseph to Leskin, where the people were quite a jovial bunch. We left a vial with Joseph and made our way back to Trastenfen. Barick gave a vial of water to Garesh when we arrived back in town. He immediately left to deliver the water to his friend. I found myself face-to-face with Tolvar again, negotiating a deal to sell the items we had collected from the temple. Where businessmen are concerned, I would rather take my chances with snakes and spiders.